summer vacation

Are you ready for your summer vacation?

achievement-art-camera-970203.jpg

Summer is here, and that means many Calgarians are getting ready to head out on their summer vacations. Any summer trip, whether it is a quick weekend getaway or month abroad, requires a lot of planning. Below, we’ve outlined some of the steps you will need to complete to ensure you have everything you need before you leave! 

 

Make lists

Lists can help you keep track of every stage of your trip. To prevent you from getting confused, make sure that you separate your lists by subject. For example, keep one list for just the items you need to pack and another for what you need to do before you leave.

When you’re putting together a “to do” list, or a list of items to pack, make sure that you keep them in a place that is easy to find. You don’t want to lose it before you even start! Consider using a task tracking app like Trello or Awesome Note. You can also create a list on a white board and hang it in your office, kitchen or bedroom. This way, anyone can easily add or check off your items and tasks as you complete them.

 

Pack smart

One of the most essential parts of an organized trip is packing smart. Before you start pulling out your items, make sure you consider what the weather is predicted to be like at your destination, what activities you will be doing, and how you will be travelling. Do you need to consider baggage restrictions on a flight, or have limited room in your vehicle? From here, you can put together your packing list, and use it to make sure that all of your items are accounted for.

When your packing items, consider using packing cubes or storage compartments to keep your items organized, compact, and easy to find. Packing cubes are smaller, rectangular fabric containers that can fit a variety of items. For example, you can use one to store all of your shirts so they are neatly folded and easy to find. Storage containers and bags with smaller compartments and pockets can also help you keep like items with like, and help you fit more items in your bag.

 

Create an itinerary

Your summer vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, so make sure you know where you need to be and when! Make sure to record important times for travelling, tours, excursions and meet-ups for your vacation before you leave. You can use the calendar in your phone or an agenda to keep track of addresses and times. Apps like Google Trips and TripCase can store all of your important travel information, as well as any documents you may need like tickets and reservation confirmations.

If you are travelling with other people, make sure they have access to a copy of the trip itinerary, so everyone is on the same page. Apps (like the ones listed above) and phone calendars having sharing functions that allow you to share your itinerary and information with travel mates. 

 

Prepare your home

Even though you are leaving home behind, it’s important to make sure that everything is prepared for when you leave. Make arrangements to have a neighbour, friend or family member check on your house periodically over your vacation. A list of what to check for, as well as any keys or passcodes needed should also be gathered and provided for whoever is watching your home. Any outdoor items like toys and patio furniture should be properly stored. It is a good idea to give the inside of your house a quick clean, so everything is in place for your return.

Any arrangements for pick-ups from airports, train stations or bus stops should also be made beforehand. Let a family member or friend know about your travel plans and provide contact information in case of an emergency.

 

Before you get away for rest and relaxation, make sure you are ready for your trip by making lists, packing smart, creating an itinerary, and preparing your home. By completing these tasks ahead of time, you can enjoy a stress-free vacation this summer!

Summer road-trip essentials

blur-car-drive-451590.jpg

A summer vacation requires a lot of organizing – but the road-trip to get to your vacation destination needs just as much planning!

If you are driving by car over a long distance this summer, don’t expect to be able to get into your car and drive away. Make sure that you know the route you are taking (and some potential back-ups) in case of inclement weather, traffic problems, or construction. It’s a good idea to preview the whole route to also map out different rest areas, especially for overly-long drives. Take note of any towns you are passing through, and possible places to stop for gas, a bite to eat, or a place to stretch your legs.

For trips that require multiple days, ensure that you allow for plenty of time to get to your destination. Leave some extra time just in case you run into complications along the way, and don’t push yourself to drive more hours than is safe. If you’re staying with family or friends, make sure they have an estimated time arrival for you ahead of time, and keep them updated by contacting them during one of your rest stops once you get closer. It’s a good idea to make sure they know your travel plans and the route you are taking.

It’s also important to make sure that your car is organized and packed with all of the essentials:

Snacks

Whether you’re planning a quick day trip or multiple days on the road, you can never have too many snacks. Look for items that are least likely to make a mess and easy to eat on the go – fresh vegetables and fruit can be cut and packed into individual portions for easy access and eating. Granola bars or bites, beef jerky, and fruit gummies are good non-perishable treats that can be kept in a car over the summer as an emergency stash.  

Beverages

Always make sure you have plenty of water and other beverages to help you and your family stay hydrated during the trip. While drinking water is important, consider bringing a few other beverage options to switch it up, especially if you are driving for long periods. Flavoured sparkling water is still healthy, but the different flavour and carbonation can be a nice change and energy booster. For kids, juice boxes are easy to pack and store and are healthier than pop. You can also consider using reusable water bottles and bringing larger bottles of water and refilling them. Don’t forget to bring travel mugs for coffee and tea refills during morning drives!

Wipes/cloths

Even with the right snacks and beverages, messy hands and faces can still happen. Throw a couple of packs of wipes or clothes into one of the seat pockets so are prepared to clean up any potential messes. It’s also a good idea to make sure one bag is designated as a garbage bag, so you have a place to dispose or store any dirty cloths while you’re on the road.

Headphones and chargers

Batteries don’t last forever, so make sure that you have all the chargers you need for all of your electronic devices. Consider purchasing an extra charger and keeping it permanently in your car so you always have access to it when you need it most. Not everyone can agree on what to listen to, so make sure headphones are available for anyone who might want to listen or watch something else on their personal devices.

Entertainment

From the driver to the passengers, everyone can get bored on road-trips. Make sure everyone is prepared by bringing along a variety of activities or entertainment options. Don’t just create a playlist – download a few podcasts or audio books to listen to as well. Change is good and helps break up long travel distances. For passengers, books, movies and small games are also great entertainment options. If you still find yourself with nothing to do, consider playing one of these classic road trip games with the other passengers.

Your summer adventure awaits, but make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready before you hit the open road!

Planning a summer getaway? We're here to help!

During the summer, taking a long vacation may not be possible, but a weekend getaway is easy to do, especially in a central location like Calgary. Whether you’re thinking of heading out to the mountains or taking a trip through the prairies, take the time to plan a weekend trip that you’ll be able to enjoy!

1.     Plan your route

It’s easy to jump in your car and head out for the weekend, but unexpected road construction or traffic can delay an already short trip. Before you head out, plan what route you will drive to get to your destination. Be sure to check traffic and weather reports to make sure that your route is clear, and make yourself familiar with alternate routes in case you encounter any further problems on the road. If you’re flying, try to book a direct flight, or try to minimize the number of connections you must make. Layovers and baggage transfers are only some of the flying steps that can put a major delay in your trip, so try to streamline your air travel as much as you can. If you plan early enough, seat sales with better flight times may be available!

2.     Focus on one area

When you’re in one place for only a couple of days, many people instinctually think they need to do everything in one weekend – even visiting more than one city! If you’re going away for only a weekend, focus your trip to one destination. If it’s a larger city, consider focusing on only one area of the city. Search for places that will have activities or events that are of interest to you. Even if you’ve heard from others that a certain destination or area is great, make sure that it is also the right fit for you and your timeframe. It may seem like you have to do it all, but narrowing your trip to one or two travel destinations will allow you to spend more time participating in activities you want to do. If you aren’t able to see something during this trip, plan to go back in the future!

3.     Pay attention to location

With only two or three days to spend in your chosen destination, you don’t want to waste time travelling between your hotel and the activities you want to do. When you’re booking accommodations, pick a place that is central to your must-see list, or close to transportation options. If you do decide to stay at a location further away, some hotels may offer shuttle services or complimentary transit passes that will make the commute easier. With a busy schedule packed into a couple of days, it’s also worth checking into dining options. Check for continental breakfasts so you can get out the door in the morning faster, and consider purchasing sandwiches, granola bars and other snack options to keep with you during the day so you don’t have to stop for snacks or lunch. For dinner, look up restaurants around your hotel and consider booking reservations in advance so you don’t have to wait long after a busy day.

4.     Pack light

If you’re only gone for the weekend, don’t pack for a week-long trip! Large suitcases and multiple bags are unnecessary, and will only make packing, transporting, and carrying them a hassle. When you’re away for a weekend and have a busy schedule, it’s more efficient to carry with you only the items that you need. Consider bringing multi-purpose clothing that layers well, and works for touring during the day as well as going out in the evening. Shoes should be practical and comfortable, and suited towards the activities you have planned. Although you might think you need to bring an extra change of clothes “just in case,” think hard about what your schedule is like and if you’ll really use it. Use the same questions you would ask yourself if you were decluttering your home: do you really need it? Will you use it during the next two days? Can you get by without it?

5.     Schedule activities

Make sure you have something to do when you get to your destination – don’t just wing it! You may get there only to find that activities you thought you could do are actually closed, or you might find something you want to do but needed to book in advance for. A quick search online can provide you with information on local events, what time restaurants, stores, and museums are open at, and if there are any weather advisories that could affect outdoor activities. If you have the option of making reservations or booking tickets online beforehand, it is always a good idea to plan ahead so you don’t have to wait in line or get turned away when you get there. When you’re scheduling your days, make sure that your schedule isn’t jam packed – allow for extra time in case some activities take longer than others, or if you decide to spend some time doing another activity – even if it’s just relaxing! You want to have a plan for your trip, but you don’t want to exhaust yourself either. A weekend getaway should be as relaxing as it is entertaining – so take the time to plan before you leave!

For a great list of weekend getaways from Calgary, go here!